Mission PossibleMay 07, 2015

Mission Australia marks the end of May with its Winter Sleepout Campaign. The cold season is coming, which will be agonizing for the homeless people. The group not only provides warm blankets, but also anything that will remind these folks that they have a home.

Homelessness is a blight in rich and poor countries, where more and more people end up in the streets. In Australia, domestic problem is the main cause. Financial difficulties and drug-related issues are other reasons, which Mission Australia learn after their encounter with homeless individuals in Sydney. It will be interesting to look at this issue in a global perspective. And you might be surprised at the facts.

Why are there many homeless people?

Culture plays a part. In countries like Jordan, a strong family system is the reason why there are no homeless individuals. Some might point out that Jordan is not a developed nation, which is true. But homelessness is a secret in First World countries. In fact, more people will discover about it in recent years. One of the factors is the slow withdrawal of social support, which is influenced by the state of the economy. Political transition is another circumstance. While it's true that traditional communities have stronger family ties, it doesn't necessarily mean that Western society doesn't value it. (This is subjective, even a case-to-case basis.) This can't be resolved collectively.

Urban apartheid. Another factor is an emerging phenomenon seen in many countries. Heavy investment in luxurious housing system and shopping malls, where the poor people are off limits. The middle class can afford it too. When did it started? Will it bring more distress in the long run? Some call it urban apartheid, which does have a social impact. No one can tell the extent, but we might not have to wait long to find out.

More people can't afford a house. There was a time when we want to leave our home after getting our first job. We find our own place, which is the first step. (Settling down and having a family is the next step.) But this is becoming a pipe dream to many young people. Change of lifestyle is one cause. (More young people choose to travel the world and embrace the nomadic existence.) Another one is the job market. There are other reasons, which make a long list.

So what do you do?

In Victoria, authorities have come up with a solution that might eradicate homelessness in the near future. A housing system, with support that helps these folks get back on their feet. There's no dignity in being poor, even if rich people experience more problems and have their bout of depression. (But that's another matter.) Homelessness can have both emotional and psychological impact as well. In your case, what can you do?

You can give a homeless individual another look. You can buy that person something to eat and drink. You can get in touch with Mission Australia.

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